Press briefing with acting Prime Minister, Santia Bradshaw at Ilaro Court – September 22, 2021. (PMO)

No Student Revolving Loan Funds (SRLF) were misappropriated in relation to a donation made to the Eden Lodge Youth Charitable Trust.

Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw sought to clear the air this morning regarding a $5,000 donation made to the Eden Lodge Youth Charitable Trust on September 1, this year, during a press conference at Ilaro Court.

Ms. Bradshaw said: “I want to put to rest this issue that funds have been misappropriated in any way; that funds have been applied in some ways; that it represents a level of mismanagement on the part of the Student Revolving Loan Fund.”

She stated that the Fund receives no monies from Central Government, and added “in other words, not a cent of the tax payers’ money. This has been the case since 2009”. She then went on to give some background to how the donation came about. 

The acting Prime Minister said back in 2020, the Eden Lodge Charitable Trust approached the SRLF for sponsorship for its back to school programme, which involves the provision of uniforms, books and other supplies, and the request was denied because no funds had been budgeted for that type of expenditure during that period.

She said subsequently the Trust came back this year and requested assistance. “The Student Revolving Loan Fund requested from them their financials to be able to make sure that they were an entity that was actually giving to students, to get an idea as to the types of programmes that they were engaged in. And it was upon that basis that the Board of the Student Revolving Loan Fund felt that the initiative being put forward by the Trust was one that fit well within the mandate of the Student Revolving Loan Fund.

“It should be noted though that none of the $5,000 was actually paid to the Trust directly. But it was in fact paid to two businesses in Bridgetown and those two businesses supplied the uniforms and the books, which the children of Barbados who would have been the beneficiaries would have benefitted from. 

“And as such, this approach having been agreed to by both the Student Revolving Loan Fund, as well as by the Eden Lodge Charitable Trust, has meant that no funds actually directly went into the hands of any individual or entity in this country, but rather went directly to the suppliers, where our Barbadian school children who are in need, would be able to go to get much needed supplies from these particular donors,” Ms. Bradshaw explained.

She pointed out that this was not the first time that the SRLF had made donations to entities in Barbados. Donations were made to the Barbados Cancer Society, the Shoe-box initiative, and last year a donation of $100,000 in devices was made to the Ministry of Education to provide students who could not afford to procure one for online classes.

The acting Prime Minister, who is the Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, reported that the SRLF “is working well” and has attained a measure of success over the past few years. 

She stated that the delinquency rate had come down from 27 per cent in 2017 to less than 17 per cent at the end of March of this year.

Ms. Bradshaw encouraged Barbadians who had benefitted from the Fund to support it by paying back the monies that had been loaned to them, so that other young people across Barbados could benefit from those resources.  

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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